Sunday, April 26, 2009

Leland Harbor Progress

A video from last Thursday, April 23rd.

Swine Flu News

Readers might have wondered why Effect Measure has held the number one spot in my "Blogs I'm Reading now" list. I started reading Effect Measure, an epidemiologists' blog, when I was interested in avian flu and backyard chickens. Mainstream news outlets were desperately trying to take an evolving science story and fit it into the "beginning, middle and end" story formula, preferably with a gripping headline that would get us tuning in again tomorrow and the next day. Effect Measure's editors were engaging in a more collaborative investigation that was much more interesting and to which I, as a backyard chicken keeper, could occasionally contribute some practical observations.

Now, with the swine flu news getting similar treatment, I recommend Effect Measure to readers who want up to date news and science without the premature conclusions. I'm also stocking up on Lysol spray, decongestants, garlic, and chicken soup.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sammy the Dog

My girls are remembering our dog Sam, who was the next picture in that old roll of film. Her full name was Samantha. She was born under the porch at what was then Ken and Alice Scott's house in Peshawbestown, part of a litter born to a stray black lab who took refuge there. Sam was a good dog, very smart, and very protective of the kids.

It was a tragedy when she died under the wheels of Mr. Hagstrom's school bus, trying to prevent it from taking Liz off to kindergarten. I was guilty of negligence, as she would have been obediently by my side had I remembered to call her in before the bus was due. But that day I had gotten our piano tuned for the first time and I dawdled to try it out as Liz nagged me to call the dog in.

Time heals. By the time Liz graduated from high school, the family tragedy had become a well worn black comedy. Liz feigned bitterness over memories of classmate Ellen laughing when Liz shared the news at kindergarten circle time. Ellen obliged by recreating the laugh. Abby's graduation announcement -- featuring a picture of Abby on her first day of school boarding Mr. Hagstrom's bus -- was hung on the wall as crime scene evidence.

Rose has been, in contrast, a not so smart dog. Perhaps that's why she lived so long. She never figured out how to open gates, climb the fence, or even how to walk over the fence when the snow drifted over it. (She did fall over the snow drifted fence a few times and couldn't figure out how to get herself back in.) Instead of having a dog who seemed to always know what I was thinking, I've had to learn to communicate with a loving, but slow witted dog. And now to be patient with a tired, smelly old dog.

So there's a picture of Sammy, my wonderful but short lived dog.
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Ridgeline Zoning Hearing

Tomorrow night, Tuesday April 14th, at 7 pm in the township office, Leland Township's Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposed zoning ordinance to regulate the development of ridge lines.

The purpose of the proposed ordinance is "to naturally reduce the pronounced appearance of structures on a dominant ridgeline without interfering with the scenic views from within those structures." There are restrictions on how much tree cutting can go on around ridgeline construction, and a provision for siting structures below the ridgeline instead of at the top "so as not to be the primary ridgeline element seen from a public road during the first week of July."

I see problems with the ordinance as proposed, since it would pretty much eliminate our township's best sites for wind generation. I also suspect that the oversized house on the hill is the dream home of the last century; the dream home of the future is likely to be of a more reasonable size and built into the hill to conserve energy.

As township trustee, I will go to the hearing to listen, rather than to advocate one side or the other. But I hope that the hearing will be well attended, and that we will hear a variety of perspectives on this issue.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shelagh and Liz


My splurge with the tax returns involved scooping up all of the old film laying around the house and taking it in to be developed. This is one of a roll from around 1992, when Shelagh was in first grade and Liz was in kindergarten.
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Leland Harbor Renovation- Installing the Fuel Tanks

Folks returning to Leland this spring will see some big changes. The old Courthouse has been torn down, and there are plans for new housing in it's place. The Leland Library is undergoing a complete interior renovation and should be looking nice and new by mid-May. but the real nail biter has been the long-planned Harbor Renovation. It has been a challenging project, requiring cooperation between Leland Township, Michigan DNR, Michigan DEQ, Michigan Office of Budget Management, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Leelanau County Road Commission, Leelanau County Construction Code Office, and, no doubt, some other agencies that I've forgotten.

Today it was a pleasure to see a big part of the project successfully put into place. The fuel tank in the pictures and video will hold both diesel fuel and gasoline, providing boaters with the only fuel stop between Frankfort and Northport. Behind it, rather lost in the mayhem, you see our pretty little playground. I was happy to see the fuel tank nestled deep into the ground. When the area is back filled and sodded, it will be a nice venue for "king of the Mountain."

It was a warm spring day, with beautiful blue water framing Whaleback. The construction guys are hoping for more weather like this to make up for the time they lost fighting blizzard conditions early in the project.

P.S. As I left the site, I saw an eagle soaring above, too high for a photo, its white head gleaming in the sun.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Climate-Energy – Leelanau’s Future Sustainability

Wednesday April 15 5:30 to 9:00 PM Old Art Building in Leland

“Climate-Energy – Leelanau’s Future Sustainability”

Come to Leland’s Old Art Building at 5:30 for a delicious chili and

biscuits supper, followed at 7 with presentations by guest

speakers Steve Smiley and Dave Barrons.

Donations at the door

Sponsored by the Leelanau Democrats.

Anna Plays Ball

Anna on the volleyball court.
Anna, my third daughter, is younger than the other two by nearly a decade. She strives to distinguish herself from her sisters, who set the bar high with their academic achievements. Anna has spent seventh grade being a jock, playing basketball, then volleyball, and she is now co-manager of the varsity softball team.

I know little about basketball and less about volleyball. I haven't tried to learn. There seem to be enough parents around who know all of the lingo and all the strategies and who want to tell anyone within earshot what the coach is doing wrong. Seventh grade is when kids are starting to break away from their families and establish their own identities. I'm glad the coaches are there providing venues for kids to try out their newly minted autonomy.

Anna had one basketball coach who yelled, and one who wrote on a clipboard. Her volleyball coaches were mantra-types, repeating the same simple instructions, "Happy stance! Call it! Shuffle shuffle!" In volleyball, the kids were not even supposed to look at the score. They were praised by their coaches for using the proper six-step serving techinique, even if they never got the ball over the net. Once the ball was in play, they were supposed to try for six touches every time the ball came to their side, regardless of scoring possibilities.

Liz said, "Yeah, the seventh and eighth grade teams always lose, but by the time they get to ninth grade they're really good." We shall see. I'm happy to see discipline and practice stressed over "talent", whatever that is. And I'm happy to go to the games and make the popcorn when it's my turn and otherwise enjoy the show.

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